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ASPPH Fellow Spotlight: ASPPH/NHTSA Fellow Assists with Future State Impaired Driving Assessments

Mrs. Leah Reish, a graduate of the University of Memphis School of Public Health, completed her second year of the ASPPH/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Public Health Fellow program in August. Mrs. Reish was placed in the Impaired Driving Division of NHTSA where she worked on numerous independent and collaborative projects related to alcohol- and drug-impaired driving issues.

One of her projects synthesized the recommendations from 12 State Impaired Driving Assessment final reports between the years 2015 and 2018 into a single document. State Impaired Driving Assessments bring together a panel of subject matter experts who investigate each aspect of the state’s impaired driving program and make recommendations to enhance that program that may help to reduce impaired driving crashes and fatalities for that state. After each assessment, the panel of experts compile a final report that categorizes key findings and recommendations for the state to use. Mrs. Reish was tasked with determining which recommendations were seen throughout multiple reports to find similarities throughout the states. After gathering over 550 recommendations from the 12 reports, Mrs. Reish merged the ones that were alike to see how many states were given that same recommendation. Only one recommendation was found within all 12 states’ reports, however, a numerous amount of recommendations were seen throughout multiple reports.

Mrs. Reish took this project one step further by looking at two of the states that conducted two State Impaired Driving Assessments within a 3-year timespan. Mrs. Reish compared both states’ two assessment reports to determine if there were changes made between these three years in their impaired driving programs. One of the states had 32 percent of the same recommendations while the second state had only 10 percent of the same recommendations. The findings from Mrs. Reish’s project will be utilized by the Chief of the Impaired Driving Division and the Office Director of the Office of Impaired Driving and Occupant Protection in future efforts to determine the efficacy of Impaired Driving Assessments and how they assist in improving a state’s impaired driving program to ultimately reduce serious injuries and fatalities caused by motor vehicle crashes.